Sheila Mullan (Jour’82) has good advice for college students.
“Don’t just take the easy A courses in college because the courses you struggle to get through may be the ones that have the most influence on your life,” she says.
It certainly worked this way for Sheila who admits she had to study hard in CU’s macro and microeconomics classes. Ironically these classes turned out to be key building blocks in her career, enabling her to go to France after college graduation with AIESEC, an international economics student leadership group, and later build a specialty in covering intricate Federal Reserve market operations, the money supply and the vast U.S. Treasuries market.
Today Sheila is a senior bond reporter for Market News International, New York. She is former president of the New York Financial Writers Association. Along the way, her career also included jobs with the Associated Press and United Press International, the Aniston (Ala.) Star and Standard & Poor’s Money Market Services and International Financing Review in Hong Kong.
“At UPI, they said, ‘You have a choice — would you like to cover bankruptcy or basketball?’ I had no interest in basketball but bankruptcy sounded kind of interesting, so that conversation changed my whole career.”
Sheila also credits several CU professors.
“I had a very good grounding from my CU education and I was able to go out and get started,” she says. “Professor Frank Kaplan, who taught international journalism, said, ‘People, you must go out and travel and see the world.’ ”
She worked for Market News International from 1993 to 1996 before moving to Hong Kong in 1997 with her husband, Ken Barry, a desk editor for Reuters. There, she worked for Standard & Poor’s Money Market Services and later, International Financing Review.
“We landed in the middle of the Asian crisis and the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to the Chinese in 1997,” she says.
Her group at S&P MMS earned an editorial excellence award for team coverage of the Asian financial crisis. The couple returned to New York after four years and Sheila rejoined Market News International full time in 2003.
Sheila maintains there will always be a role for journalism.
“The need for original reporting is not going to go away,” she says. “Anyone can Tweet, but we as a society need basic reporting skills. We have what’s ostensibly an objective reporting system in the U.S., and people are supposed to give both sides of the story. As professor Bill McReynolds of journalism told us, ‘Make sure your stories will hold up even if your personal assumptions are wrong.’ That’s what journalists are supposed to do: think about the source of the news.”
— Jenny Herring